Dish Network named Mavenir as its first 5G vendor, tapping the company to provide cloud-native open RAN software for its next-generation network as it prepares to enter the US wireless market.

The pair disclosed few details about the multi-year agreement, but a Dish Network representative told Mobile World Live Mavenir’s software will act as the “brain of the radio layer”.

Use of the open source kit will allow it to “source radios for the towers from any open RAN-compliant RF hardware vendor” and run the system using commercial off-the-shelf computers, the representative said. A Mavenir representative added interoperability tests are underway with unnamed hardware partners.

The announcement represents a huge boost for Mavenir’s open RAN ambitions, building on work with Turkcell and Vodafone Idea.

Pardeep Kohli, Mavenir president and CEO, noted the Dish Network agreement involves backing “the deployment of the world’s largest cloud-native open RAN 5G network.”

Dish Network has until June 2023 to build a 5G network covering 70 per cent of the US population, to fulfil a commitment it made as part of a deal between T-Mobile US, Sprint and the US Department of Justice covering their merger.

The mobile newcomer issued a request for proposals from 5G vendors in July 2019: earlier this year, chairman Charlie Ergen detailed plans to use open architecture for its network.

Ergen previously indicated the company expects to spend up to $10 billion on network construction.